Call for meeting
Fury grows over Holyrood’s Covid testing policy
Marc Crothall: ‘this policy is causing immediate damage’
Tourism leaders are calling on Scottish ministers to justify their reasons for not following the UK government’s plan for opening up the travel sector.
A number of organisations have signed an open letter demanding urgent talks with ministers after Holyrood refused to follow the plan to ease Covid tests in England.
They say this will delay the recovery of the Scottish tourism and hospitality industries and put them at a severe disadvantage to other territories.
Their action follows outrage across the business spectrum at the weekend, with some critics accusing the Scottish government of adopting an alternative policy “just to be different”.
Scottish Tourism Alliance, Marc Crothall, who is leading calls for a meeting, said: “We have requested that a member of the Scottish Government’s public health team also attends this meeting to explain how the most recent analysis of data supports the view that international travel is driving transmission.
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“This policy is causing immediate damage to revenues and represents high risk self-harm for jobs and the economy in the short, medium and long term.”
Rebecca Brooks, managing director of inbound tour operator Abbey UK, described the Scottish Government’s decision as “incomprehensible”, adding that European countries have benefitted from the safe restart of international travel without testing for the vaccinated since the 19 July.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, commented: “We simply fail to comprehend and are shocked by the Scottish Government’s decision not to align with others to remove the need for a PCR test for double vaccinated tourists and business travellers.
“This is not only about the tourism and travel industry, it touches every part of our economy. Do we seriously believe that our economy will grow, and we will be able to attract investment, without being connected and accessible to the world?
“The impact, if this decision if not reversed quickly, is that we will have airlines and operators withdrawing from Scotland with businesses being forced to direct all our exporting and importing trade through other airports. How will this support jobs in Scotland?
“We need to hear and see the data which has driven this decision which is completely contradictory to leading global scientific evidence.”